MODESTO, California (Reuters) -- A California woman who allegedly flew into a rage and bit her husband repeatedly after he refused to have sex with her is being held on charges that police say may eventually include murder.
Modesto police said that Kelli Pratt, 45, attacked her 65-year-old husband Arthur on October 7, holding him down and biting him some 20 times after a dispute over sex.
"Most of the bites were confined to his arm and his abdomen and a few were very deep with major tissue damage," Sgt. Al Carter of the Modesto police told a television news reporter Thursday.
The Modesto Bee newspaper reported that Arthur Pratt, whose skin was covered with more than 20 deep tooth marks, died Sunday at a local hospital and that the local forensic pathologist believes the bites are the likely cause of death.
"He (the husband) was able to dial 911 (emergency) that night," Carter told the newspaper. "We have a tape recording of him screaming while she was biting him. When officers arrived, he was screaming that he'd been assaulted. She fought with the officers and tried to bite them, too."
Arthur Pratt had a history of medical problems including diabetes, heart and circulation problems. An official ruling on the possible homicide charge is awaiting toxicology tests, which could determine whether the bites caused an infection that proved fatal, the Bee said.
Carter said police were already persuaded that "his death was a direct result of being bitten."
"I've seen cases where dogs have bitten kids, and blood loss or infection led to death," Carter said. "I've never heard of anyone being bitten to death (by a human) before."
Kelli Pratt is currently being held in Modesto, about 90 miles east of San Francisco, on charges of elder abuse, domestic violence and assault on a police officer.